This fall two retired St. Mary teachers set off on another adventure together. Unlike last year’s three-week trip out East, Mrs. Feagan and Mary Langhorst, who share a love of history, headed north to Minnesota anxious to discover more about Lewis and Clark. They discovered more than they ever thought!
First stop was Pipestone National Monument in Pipestone, Minnesota where only tribal members can dig up the precious red stone used to make their pipes. Second stop was the Terry Redlin Center in Watertown, South Dakota where they toured three floors of his amazing artwork.
Afterwards their destination was the Twin Cities where a regional meeting of Lewis and Clark was being held. Saturday’s itinerary included several tours including the Sibley House, Ft. Snelling, the James J. Hill House Mansion [36,000 sq. ft.], the Minnesota History Center as well as lunch at a private residence. The significance of lunch was that the house’s attic once housed an old desk. The owners, upon searching through the old desk, found some very old papers with notes written long ago. The Minnesota Historical Society was called in to take a look and confirmed that the papers were notes written by William Clark. They are now housed at Yale’s library. After lunch and a view of the attic, the bus drove past several homes of well-known individuals including the early childhood home of Charles Schultz [Charlie Brown & Peanuts], Garrison Keillor, F. Scott Fitzgerald and Frank B. Kellogg.
The sun was shining bright on Sunday when the tour began with a walk across Fr. Hennepin Park to see the Stone Arch Bridge built in 1882 and the St. Anthony Falls on the Mississippi River. Fr. Hennepin was the first to discover these falls and named them in honor of St. Anthony of Padua. On one side of the river one could see the Gold Medal mill and on the other side was the Pillsbury mill, which was the largest in the world for forty years.
Sunday’s tour also included a tour of the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, a Mississippi River cruise, a view of the Basilica of St. Mary and a visit to Minnehaha Falls. The most exciting time came at the end of the day. A special guest appeared at dinner with a tale to tell. To make a long story short, he had in his possession a cane given to his great, great, great, great grandfather’s brother by William Clark. What a treasure it was to hold the 200+-year-old cane knowing that the hands of William Clark once held it too! This was all documented on a PBS special and everyone got to watch it.
Monday brought more adventure as the group toured different areas of St. Paul including the neighborhood where Justice Harry Blackman, Justice Edward DeVitt and Chief Justice Warren Burger all grew up together. Two of the three were in the same Cub Scout pack. The bus continued over into Wisconsin to visit Indian Mounds Park, the Great River Road Visitor Center, and the Mississippi River-St. Croix River Overlook at Freedom Park. They passed by places such as Maiden Rock, Lake Pepin [the birthplace of water skiing] and the town of Pepin where Laura Ingalls Wilder was born about five miles north of town. Crossing back over into Minnesota the bus stopped at Wabasha where everyone enjoyed a lunch at Slippery’s Restaurant known for its part in the movie “Grumpy Ole Men”. After lunch the bus stopped at the National Eagle Center, which housed four bald eagles that cannot survive in their natural settings due to various injuries.
The tour winded down through towns such as Red Wing [well known for Red Wing Shoes and pottery] until it came to its final tour spot, an island on the Mississippi River called Gray Cloud Island. Everyone enjoyed the very peaceful and tranquil spot on the river as the three-day tour came to a close. However, the island held a surprise, as the participants were able to view the owner’s collection of Edward Curtis’s prints and actual photographs. He was a 19th century artist and ethnographer known as the “Shadow Catcher”. His works have been internationally celebrated as he took over two thousand photographs of Native Americans. It was indeed a treat to see such rare original works.
Mary Langhorst and Mrs. Feagan discovered many things about Lewis and Clark as they stepped onto the “Land of 10,000 Lakes”. Though Lewis and Clark never stepped foot into the actual state of Minnesota, they did travel through Minnesota Territory long ago. These two history buffs were glad they too traveled and discovered as their thirst for adventure continues.
For more photos click here.